Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin was one of our most imaginative writers, a radical thinker, and a feminist icon. The interviews collected here span 40 years of her pioneering and prolific career.When she began writing in the 1960s, Ursula K. Le Guin was as much of a literary outsider as one can be: she was a woman writing in a landscape dominated by men, she wrote genre at a time where it was dismissed as non-literary, and she lived out West, far from fashionable east coast literary circles. The interviews collected here--covering everything from her Berkeley childhood to her process of world-building; from her earliest experiments with genre to envisioning the end of capitalism--highlight that unique perspective, which conjured some of the most prescient and lasting books in modern literature.

Ursula K. Le Guin Details

TitleUrsula K. Le Guin
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherMelville House
ISBN-139781612197791
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Biography, Feminism, Autobiography

Ursula K. Le Guin Review

  • Ksenia (vaenn)
    January 1, 1970
    Я маю складні стосунки із сучасною близькістю до автора. Як вогню боюся твіттерів та тумблерів улюблених молодих англомовних письменниць, іноді лякаюся того, скільки маю літераторів у фб-стрічці (і відпоюю себе думкою, що з більшістю ми подружилися ще до того, як вони видали свої перші книжки), нечасто читаю інтерв'ю, а певна колонка Тараса Прохаська на "Збручі" кілька років тому розбила мені серце. Якщо коротше, то це така страусяча позиція: живий ти автор - чи вже ні, але я тебе не знаю. І я н Я маю складні стосунки із сучасною близькістю до автора. Як вогню боюся твіттерів та тумблерів улюблених молодих англомовних письменниць, іноді лякаюся того, скільки маю літераторів у фб-стрічці (і відпоюю себе думкою, що з більшістю ми подружилися ще до того, як вони видали свої перші книжки), нечасто читаю інтерв'ю, а певна колонка Тараса Прохаська на "Збручі" кілька років тому розбила мені серце. Якщо коротше, то це така страусяча позиція: живий ти автор - чи вже ні, але я тебе не знаю. І я ніколи не думала, що збірка інтерв'ю конкретної авторки - нехай навіть знакової - розірве мене на кількасот маленьких Ксень і збере наново в трохи іншій конфігурації."Останнє інтерв'ю" Урсули ЛеҐуїн - це моя персональна І Цзін, книжка, яку можна відкрити на будь-якій сторінці і вона відповість на питання, поставлене або невимовлене. Інтерв'ю 1970-х років розповідають про те, як бути письменницею-початківицею у фантастичному середовищі. Інтерв'ю 1980-х - про стереотипи сприйняття, про подальше життя текстів, про те, як живеться авторці, чиї книжки уже увійшли до канону, а хочеться ж іще далі щось писати. Інтерв'ю останніх років говорять про старість, про залежність/незалежність від чужих оцінок, про свободу роздавати власні оцінки, про поступ, що необов'язково є прогресом, про літературу як таку. Власне, про літературу як таку, про творчі механізми, про ідеї та їхнє коріння, про те, як писати, коли ти жінка і вповні це усвідомлюєш, розповідає кожна бесіда. Це круто, щиро, це змушує думати про те, про що не хотілося, або зітхати з полегшенням, або ледь не плакати: "Дякую, пані Урсуло, за те, що ви були, ви писали, ви не мовчали". І це той рідкісний випадок, коли мені страшенно жаль, що це "дякую" я не змогла сказати наживо.PS: для спраглих розгадок - а ще в цих інтерв'ю можна-таки вичитати, що нам хотіла сказати авторка. І це теж нівроку цікаво.
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  • Misha
    January 1, 1970
    I keep reading essays by Le Guin and interviews with her as I enjoy spending time with this woman and her fine mind so much. What wonderful company she continues to be.Some choice interview bits:On what she wants her legacy to be:"Irreverence toward undeserved authority, and passionate respect for the power of the word. Oh, and my books staying in print, too."How she became a feminist in the early 1970s:"It was a real mind shift. And I was a grown woman with kids. And mothers of children were no I keep reading essays by Le Guin and interviews with her as I enjoy spending time with this woman and her fine mind so much. What wonderful company she continues to be.Some choice interview bits:On what she wants her legacy to be:"Irreverence toward undeserved authority, and passionate respect for the power of the word. Oh, and my books staying in print, too."How she became a feminist in the early 1970s:"It was a real mind shift. And I was a grown woman with kids. And mothers of children were not welcome among a lot of early feminists. I was living the bad dream. I was a mommy. You know there's always prejudice in a revolutionary movement. I wasn't even sure I was welcome. And I wasn't to some of those people. It took a lot of thinking for me to find what kind of feminist I could be and why I wanted to be a feminist." (xv)"Isn't the real question this: Is the work worth doing? Am I, a human being, working for what I really need and want--or for what the State or the advertisers tell me I want. Do I choose? I think that's what anarchism comes down to. Do I let my choices be made for me, and so go along with the power game, or do I choose, and accept the responsibility for my choice? In other words, am I going to be a machine-part, or a human being?""To genrify is necessary. There are different genres. What is wrong is to rank them as higher or lower, to make a hierarchy based only on genre, not the quality of the writing. That is my whole argument and it goes no further. So don't try to extend it into this world."From a written interview, not Le Guin's words:"To put it simply, anarchy is based on the realistic observation that people left to themselves, without the intervention of the state, tend to cooperate and work out their differences. The process may be awkward, inefficient and punctuated by fights, but its end result is usually more satisfying to everyone than when things are done by command." (94-5)
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  • Sirana
    January 1, 1970
    Everything Le Guin says is wonderful and some of the questions are intelligent. A bit short, though...
  • Lillian Carlsness-Clayton
    January 1, 1970
    The main focus of this book is to gain a deeper understanding for the writer Ursula K. Le Guin, her works, and overall philosophy and thinking behind writing as a whole. Written by Le Guin herself, it is a collection of interviews and conversations that touch on all kinds of things, from the books she wrote all the way to why she is a writer. It gets into the weeds of her early years writing, the difficulties in the beginning due to the fact that it was male dominated field and that the genre of The main focus of this book is to gain a deeper understanding for the writer Ursula K. Le Guin, her works, and overall philosophy and thinking behind writing as a whole. Written by Le Guin herself, it is a collection of interviews and conversations that touch on all kinds of things, from the books she wrote all the way to why she is a writer. It gets into the weeds of her early years writing, the difficulties in the beginning due to the fact that it was male dominated field and that the genre of science fiction and fantasy was considered lesser. Personally, reading the conversation during the interviews is quite entertaining, but because it is not written in a common biography style, so you do not get a very personal feel from the author because it is mostly dialogue. But, you could argue that because it is quoting her verbatim, there is a more personalized feel and the reader gains a better understanding of Le Guin as a whole. So I suppose it is a matter of perspective (I agree with the latter). For example, "I always wrote. And I was so arrogant. I didn't even say I wanted to be a writer. I thought to myself: I am a writer." This was her answer to a question asking when she first felt she was a writer, and her answer gives a good view into her character. The book addresses the writing process and underlying themes of some of Le Guin's best work, which again, I as a fan of her works finds very interesting. "Most of my names mean nothing. They are not puns, they are not anagrams. They're just pure sound. They just sound right to me." This line from Le Guin may seem somewhat insignificant, but as a reader of hers, it answers my questions about the names of characters in her books and if they ever had a deeper meaning.Overall, this book was a very fascinating read and I would highly recommend it to anyone that is a fan of her works, or just someone curious and wanting to know more about a well known author.
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  • Dan Trefethen
    January 1, 1970
    Ever since Ursula Le Guin died a year ago, I've gone back to some of her work. Interestingly enough, I've been reading a fair amount of non-fiction. This past year was a good year for that, with a number of books, including this one.This is a part of “The Last Interview” series that this publisher does. It actually contains a number of interviews, from 1977 to last year (the true “last interview”). It was interesting to see her comment on her own work over time, and on how things have changed in Ever since Ursula Le Guin died a year ago, I've gone back to some of her work. Interestingly enough, I've been reading a fair amount of non-fiction. This past year was a good year for that, with a number of books, including this one.This is a part of “The Last Interview” series that this publisher does. It actually contains a number of interviews, from 1977 to last year (the true “last interview”). It was interesting to see her comment on her own work over time, and on how things have changed in fifty years since she published her earlier work.This is a short book and is of interest mostly to people who are already familiar with her work. It has some interviews that would probably be hard to find otherwise. However, a larger and more important non-fiction collection appeared last year: “Dreams Must Explain Themselves”, a compendium of essays she wrote over her life, including key essays that influenced how people read science fiction and fantasy, including me. It also contains her 2014 National Book Foundation award speech that burned down the house, which alone is worth the price of the book. If you haven't seen it, go to YouTube and look for “Ursula Le Guin National Book Award”. Every time I watch that I say “Boy, do I miss her.”Insider scoop: This October, look for a biographical film, “The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin”, on PBS' “American Masters” series. I saw a preview a few months ago.A national book award and an “American Masters” show? Maybe the genre is getting some respect after all. Or, of course, it could just be Ursula.
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  • Warren Rochelle
    January 1, 1970
    A book of last interviews, and the last one, THE last one, in the summer of 2017, before Le Guin's death in 2018: yes, please read,As I write this, I am thinking this was one last time to listen in on the ruminations of one amazing and wonderful and creative mind, as she pondered questions about her work, her thoughts on the craft of writing, on her fictional universes, and I wish I could do so again. Reading her work, studying her fiction, changed my life. I am so lucky to have met Ursula K. Le A book of last interviews, and the last one, THE last one, in the summer of 2017, before Le Guin's death in 2018: yes, please read,As I write this, I am thinking this was one last time to listen in on the ruminations of one amazing and wonderful and creative mind, as she pondered questions about her work, her thoughts on the craft of writing, on her fictional universes, and I wish I could do so again. Reading her work, studying her fiction, changed my life. I am so lucky to have met Ursula K. Le Guin and I told her just that.Highly recommended.Bonus: a footnote telling the reader that one last Earthsea story, "Firelight," was published in the Summer 2018 Paris Review, 6 months after Le Guin's death. David Streitfeld, the editor of The Last Interview, and the man who interviewed the last time, says "Firelight" is "a moving account of of Ged's dying, with Tenar by his side" (161). I can't wait to read it--and am thinking: her last published story, about the death of one her most famous and beloved characters, written close to her own death, published not long after: life, poetry, art, the story, farewell.
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  • Lina
    January 1, 1970
    Neat collection of interviews from 1977 up to 2018 with one of my favourite authors, including the titular Last Interview. I liked Streitfeld's introduction and interview the best I think, but one or two of the others were almost a bit awkward. A great quick read if you're a fan of Le Guin!
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  • Achab_
    January 1, 1970
    It's always a pleasure reading Ursula Le Guin's witty interview answers. Even though some of the first interviews collected in this book felt a bit repetitive.
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